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Ten tips for travelling to Europe in Summer 2023

If you are travelling to Europe in 2023, it may possibly be your first time since Brexit. In which case you may well have questions about what has changed in terms of European travel. 

To help point you in the right direction, in this article we give you ten useful tips to be aware of if you are planning to travel to Europe this year.

Tip 1 : Check your passport expiry date

As well as needing a passport to travel to Europe, you now need to check its expiry date carefully. For a British passport, the date of issue needs to be less than ten years before the date you enter the country, and the date of expiry needs to be at least three months after the day you plan to leave.

So if you plan to travel to the EU from 2nd-16th September 2023, your passport must have been issued less than ten years before 2nd September 2023 and be valid for at least three months after 16th September 2023.

It is also worth checking the FCDO website as to whether there are any other specific rules or entry requirements for the country you’re visiting.

Tip 2 : Your passport will need to be stamped

Be aware that British passport holders entering Europe now have to have their passports stamped. This also applies if you cross the border to any other European country in what is known as the Schengen area. 

Passport stamping is expected to become fully automated in 2024 through a new “EES” – Entry/Exit system. But currently manual passport stamping is taking place which can mean longer delays at borders. 

The reason for passports being stamped is to ensure that travellers are complying with the 90-day visa-free limit. Let’s take a look at that now.

Tip 3 : Know the changes to visa regulations

You don’t currently need a visa for short trips to Europe, but can only stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Your length of stay will be validated by passport stamping.

Once EES (see Tip 2) is implemented, this will pave the way for a new travel authorisation system to be introduced for entry into most European countries. It will be known as ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorisation System – and will be similar to the ESTA for travel to the US. 

Once ETIAS is in place, British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to purchase an ETIAS to enter Europe. It will need renewing after three years.


Tip 4 : Make sure you have a GHIC or EHIC

Before Brexit, British passport holders were entitled to an EHIC – European Health Insurance Card. The EHIC entitles the holder to free emergency and medical healthcare when travelling in the EU. 

If you have an EHIC that is in date, this is still valid. However, if your EHIC has expired, or you never had one, you can apply for a new GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) on the NHS website. This has similar benefits to the EHIC.

Tip 5 : Also arrange travel insurance

Even with an EHIC or GHIC, it is still advisable to take out comprehensive travel insurance. This will provide additional cover and protection against a range of circumstances that could happen, for example holiday cancellation, travel disruption such as delays or missed flights, or additional medical expenses – such as repatriation of the patient or accommodation for the companion(s) – in case of major accident or illness.

Tip 6 : Check whether you need an international driving permit

If you plan to drive in Europe, your UK photocard drivers licence will normally be all you need. However, if you still have a paper licence or if your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man you will need to apply on Gov UK website for an international driving permit (IDP) before you travel.

Tip 7 : Three things you need to know if you take your own car

If you are taking your own car to Europe, it’s advisable to double check that you are fully insured. All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum level of third party cover that you need to drive in most EU countries, but check whether you have extra cover for things like theft or damage to your car abroad.

If you are planning to drive in any of the following countries you may need a green card from your insurer:

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Moldova
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

A green card is an international certificate of insurance which confirms that you have the necessary minimum level of third-party insurance. 

If you’re taking your own car to the EU, it is advisable to take your original registration document with you in case it is needed at any stage. 

If you’re taking your own car you will also need a UK car sticker. UK stickers replaced GB stickers in September 2021. They can be purchased from a range of retailers, including Halfords and Amazon.

If your number plate already includes the UK identifier with a Union Jack, you do not need a UK sticker for most EU countries. But if you’re planning to drive in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker even if you have a Union Jack on your number plate.

Tip 8 : Additional documentation if you are camping

If you are planning to camp in the EU, and are taking a caravan or trailer, all the above requirements for a car will apply. Also be aware that if you are in a country that requires a green card, separate green cards are required for motorhomes and for anything towed by a motorised vehicle, including caravans, trailers and trailer tents/folding campers. Towed items need a category F (“Trailer”) green card.

If in doubt, check with your insurance company. It’s always better to have too much documentation than not enough.

If you are camping in the EU you may also want to get either a CCI card (Camping Card International), also known as a Carnet. These are issued by the FICC, the international umbrella organisation of major camping clubs throughout the world. 

A CCI can be used as a form of identity as well as security instead of your passport at campsites in some countries, and is a legal requirement for camping in Denmark. It provides up to 1.8 million Euros worth of third-party insurance for accidental damage at campsites, for parties of up to 11 people. It can also entitle you to discounts at campsites and restaurants.

You can find out more about the CCI card via the Camping and Caravanning Club. And if you have RAC breakdown cover then you can apply for a CCI card without becoming a C&CC member.

Tip 9 : Understand your mobile phone tariff

When you use your UK mobile phone in Europe you now need to pay for data roaming. Data roaming applies when you connect to another mobile network abroad to make a call or text, and when you use your mobile phone to access the internet, whether for Google, websites, email, or social media.

Some major UK mobile operators include data roaming as part of your contract, but others including EE, Vodafone and Three charge extra for roaming fees in Europe. So it’s wise to check what your phone operator is likely to charge you before you set off. You may be able to purchase an additional data roaming package but may then need to change or update your settings in the UK before you travel.

Tip 10 : Taking a pet? Check with your vet

Since Brexit, the previous pet passport system no longer applies, and you will need an animal health certificate to take your pet into an EU country. An animal health certificate can be obtained from a vet that is registered as an OV – Official Veterinarian – to issue animal health certificates.

This certificate has to be dated no more than ten days before you enter the EU and will then be valid for four months for both onward travel within the EU and re-entry into the UK.

An animal health certificate confirms that your pet is microchipped and is fully up to date with regular vaccinations. Your pet will also need to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before you apply for an animal health certificate. 

Additionally, if you are planning to take a dog to Finland, Ireland, Norway or Malta it will also need tapeworm treatment before travel.

The best advice is to check with your vet at least one month before travel to confirm what you need to do. Further details can also be found at Gov UK.

We hope that the above tips are helpful when planning your European trip. If you need any additional funding for your trip, remember that Munzee Loans offer online loans that may be able to help.

Do visit us here again soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Munzee.